If statistical trends hold firm Saturday, the TCU men’s basketball team will defeat No. 21 Baylor by an eerily familiar score of 60-59.
Of course, no matter what the analytic magicians might contend, the chances of each exactly achieving the statistical scoring standards from the first two games of their respective Big 12 Conference schedules are much less likely happening than an earthquake in North Texas.
In truth, Saturday’s 3 p.m. matchup at Wilkerson-Greines has nothing to do with old football wounds but rather two teams that really need a conference victory after beginning their Big 12 seasons 0-2.
The Horned Frogs followed a 13-0 start to the season with losses to No. 14 West Virginia and Kansas State, on Wednesday. No. 21 Baylor (11-2) fell to No. 12 Kansas at home on Wednesday after opening with a loss to No. 16 Oklahoma.
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In each of its two losses, TCU was in the game, trailing by single digits into the final five minutes.
“We’ve got to get over the hump,” said TCU coach Trent Johnson, whose words after Wednesday’s loss are as relevant three days later. “Got to get over the hump.”
Statistically speaking, the game features the top two defenses in the conference. The Frogs have allowed only 55 points a game through their first 15 games. Under Johnson, TCU has held opponents to 59 points or less in 26 of 47 games.
Each team is also among the most lacking from the free-throw line. TCU is shooting a league-bottom 63 percent, while the Bears are ninth at 64 percent.
The Frogs lost on Wednesday despite holding Kansas State to 38 percent shooting. TCU, as against West Virginia, lost the rebounding battle. And the Frogs had their own trouble scoring, shooting 33 percent in the first half and 41 percent for the game. On 3-pointers, TCU was 1-for-9.
Leading scorer Kyan Anderson was limited to eight points.
Senior Kenny Chery led Baylor with 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 4-for-7 from 3-point range, against Kansas. Junior forward Taurean Prince is the Bears’ top scorer at 11.7 a game.
Rico Gathers, the conference’s top rebounder, will present the Frogs yet another challenge in the front court.
Anderson moving up the charts
Anderson, a senior from North Crowley, will make his 101st career start today, fifth all-time in program history.
Anderson is 13 starts shy of eclipsing Corey Santee for No. 4. With 15 games remaining, he should catch Nos. 2 and 3 Carven Holcombe (115) and Darrell Browder (114) in the regular season. Reggie Smith started 121 games from 1989-92.
Anderson needs 43 points to move up to ninth on the school’s all-time scoring list, which is topped by Browder, the former Fort Worth Dunbar High School star who played at TCU from 1980-83.
▪ Guard Trey Zeigler, who has scored double-digits in his last three games, including 19 against Kansas State, is averaging 18 points in the first two Big 12 games, second among conference players in league play.
▪ TCU is 13-2 for only the second time in school history and vying today to match the 1951-52 team at 14-2.
TCU vs. Baylor
3 p.m. Saturday, Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center